The postpositions have been drawn and this years favorites are bookending the field. Lookin’ at Lucky will start in the rail position while Sidney’s Candy will start at the 20th postposition when the Run for the Roses commences this Saturday May 1st at the world famous Churchill Downs race track in Louisville, Kentucky.
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Other frontrunners Awesome Act will start at No. 16, while Noble’s Promise has the No. 3 position, Super Saver the No. 4 and Dublin the No. 17.
But just how important is the rail spot or any other chute for that matter?
To begin with the rail position unlike the pole position in auto racing, has not been the most favorable through the years, but historically has generated more wins than any other post in Kentucky Derby history. However, the last a horse to win the Derby starting from that part of the gate was Ferdinand back in 1986. In 2009, West Side Bernie drew the rail and finished a disappointing ninth, well behind winner Mine that Bird, who started in the eighth postposition.
The rail can be a tough spot to be in, because if you can’t beat the field into the first turn, chances are you’re going to be staring at 19 tails saying goodbye. That’s what Lookin’ At Lucky is going to have to overcome. It is a place he has not had great success. The Santa Anita Derby favorite finished third after jockey Garrett Gomez ran the horse on the inside only to be slammed into the backstretch rail by a reckless Victor Espinoza riding Who’s Up. Lucky never had a chance. Gomez will need to ride a lot smarter on Saturday if he wants to end up in the winner’s circle.
The same will apply to second favorite Sidney’s Candy who will be starting in the No. 20 spot. He and jockey Joe Talamo will have a long trip ahead of them just to work into the field of 20. Some bettors and handicappers may shy away because of such a daunting task. However, it wouldn’t be the first time a horse has won from that position. Big Brown won from that spot in 2008 as the second to ever do so. Sidney has won his last three with blinding speed out of the gate. He took the Santa Anita Derby by 4-1/2 lengths, but this time will have to charge past 19 of the world’s best thoroughbreds.
Rounding out the top three and sandwiched in the middle of the two favorites in the No. 4 spot, is Super Saver. This colt should bode well close to the inside rail. He will be piloted by 2007 and 2009 Derby winner, jockey Calvin Borel who has been winning at a 47% clip. The 43-year old has earned the nickname “Bo-Rail” at the track for his riding style that usually finds him using the rail to make his way to the winner’s circle, so a No. 4 slot should work well to his advantage. Bottom line, this colt plain and simple has the right stuff to be in the hunt and runs well in traffic.
Below are the postpositions and the number of wins since 1900:
1 – 12
2 – 9
3 – 8
4 – 10
5 – 12
6 – 6
7 – 8
8 – 10
9 – 4
10 – 10
11 – 3
12 – 3
13 – 4
14 – 2
15 – 3
16 – 3
17 – 0
18 – 1
19 – 0
20 – 2
So as you can see there are a few favorable postpositions but luck has a lot to do with who wins the Kentucky Derby. The best horse does not always win, but sometimes the one with the best combination of luck and skill does.
Kentucky Derby Odds:
Lookin at Lucky 7/2
Sidney’s Candy 6/1
Awesome Act 9/1
Noble’s Promise 18/1
FULL KENTUCKY DERBY BETTING ODDS